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The sport of Polo has long had an image of being a sport for the rich, white elite, not something inner-city kids flocked to or even get to see up close. Things are changing on that front as Shariah Harris became the first Black player to reach the highest level of the sport late last month.

Harris, 19, is currently a student at Cornell University and stars for its Polo team. She led the school to the national finals and was named the U.S. Polo Association’s Player of the Year in 2016. The Southwest Philadelphia native discovered the sport by accident. In an interview with CBS News (above) Harris revealed that when her mother took a wrong turn while driving one day, they happened upon horse stables. From there, Harris became enamored by the sport.

By way of a program known as Work To Ride, which exposes inner-city children to horses and riding, Harris began her journey while still in elementary school. Over the years, she’s honed her skills as a polo player under the guidance of Work To Ride’s Lezlie Hiner, who gushed over her pupil’s success.

On June 30, Harris joined the Postage Farm polo team, which is part of the “high-goal” level of the sport. She made her public debut with the team at the Greenwich Polo Club this past Sunday.

While humbly accepting all the accolades but thinking of herself as just another player, Harris does hope that her presence on the Polo field will inspire boys and girls who look like her to embrace the sport.

PHOTO: Cornell University

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